Dear Anonymous

I thought I should drop by and write you here. Since you caught me on a pretty bad day and mention this space in particular, in the recent bad feedback you left on Etsy. Inferring that I am a liar because I wrote explaining that we are, as most small online business this season can attest to, swamped with holiday orders but doing the best we can to ensure every single one of them arrives in time for the big day. Apologizing for the delay in response and sending (albeit late) tracking to ease concerns about the arrival of said purchase. You chide me for claiming a full plate, when evidence here shows all I am doing is happily crafting my days away and buying "overpriced Christmas trees."

You're right. We did spend a couple afternoons making idle crafts. And yes, we did take our kids to buy a tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. And then, in between those two posts featured here, we also were dealing with a sudden delay in the shipment of our entire canvas supply. Another stolen car, Hurt feelings at school. Sick babies and birthday parties for family members. School events, site word practice, library books and baths. Mornings spent in the classroom where I help out twice a week. Emails, and emails and more emails I try to tackle late at night long after homework because it's the only time I have to myself to answer in quiet. And, there were Rain storms that rolled in and forced the production of our entire shop indoors to keep the orders running on time, causing my entire home to become a working factory for the past week and a half engulfed in sawdust, teepees in plastic covers piled six feet high in our dining room blocking the tree from getting decorated like we had hoped for. Like all kids look forward to this time of year.

There were things that I guess I should have been more clear about. All kinds of "things" that sprung up in a house full of four children and a business run by two people. As I type here now, my husband is outside with two hired hands in our drive way sanding, carving and packing every single order that still needs to go out. And I am working my fastest to keep up with online questions and concerns that come with those worried about their holiday purchases. Printing tickets and preparing for my son's ninth birthday which is three days away, and paying bills and hoping to God the baby sleeps one extra hour so I can get through as much of it as I can before I need to nurse and kiss and comfort him in between the remainder of those online duties that will pull me away from his attention. And then, if I still need to, I will be up again until two in the morning, finishing what work I can't manage to tie up in the time slots I've managed to snag throughout the day.

So, just to be clear, yes we did buy that 80 dollar tree. And yes, I did take a Sunday to make snow globes with my boys. But in between that a million other things happened too. And we are stress filled and next to tears in the final days leading up to Christmas because we want every person who gives us their money to be entirely satisfied with the product we send out. We pulled it off last year and fingers crossed will do so again. And yet working equally as hard to ensure our kids have the best Christmas we can possibly offer them in the midst of it all. So while I have no qualms sucking up complaints the speak of failed communication or dissatisfaction attached to annoying shipping delays - those things I know I can work on -  I do take offense at the assumptions that what I post here is our life in full, when really it's just sparse highlights of events and afternoons I choose to share either because they are something I want to remember, or feel others might enjoy or relate to in some way. I apologize if it reads as anything other than that. And all I ask is that next time, maybe hold off on the biting review until you actually receive the order? Until you open it up and see just how much work goes into the product that arrived late (and maybe without satisfactory assurance) but still in time for Christmas? And likely, something that should last your children years to come. And then, if you are still unhappy, try to be a bit constructive in your feedback? Because nobody likes being called a liar. Especially when they are existing on four hours of sleep, with three Christmas lists left to fill, a birthday party to plan, and a couple hundred orders that need to make it out before this coming Wed. I have a week to make a lot of miracles happen. And you what else, 90 percent of it won't ever be shared here.

So maybe down the line, you can have that in mind. Or stick to Amazon Prime where factories full fill wishes and feelings don't get hurt.

In the meantime, we are hoping you have a Merry Christmas and reconsider your disgust with Etsy. And above all, that the teepee you ordered in mid November, brings someone in your home real joy and long term delight come early Christmas morning.

Jessica Kraus